Verona Wins Environmental Award
ANJEC) presented its Environmental Achievement Awards to six local environmental commissions at the organization’s 41st Annual Environmental Congress on Oct. 24 at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg. This year’s Award winners include Environmental Commissions from Chatham Township, Manalapan, Oakland, Verona, West Windsor and Westville. The Hawthorne Environmental Commission earned honorable mention. Pictured VEC members Gloria Machnowski and Jim Loudon with former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, the keynote speaker at the event that gathered about 200 environmentalists from around the state. The VEC received the award for its recycling education campaign and video “Verona Recycling 101” produced by the commission in collaboration with students from the Verona High School Environmental Club and the the town's recycling manager. During the congress VEC commissioners also attended workshops such as "Trends in Local Open Space Preservation" and "New Jersey Water Supply".
Thank you Peckman Trail volunteers!
The commission organized a Fall clean up at the Peckman Trail behind F.N. Brown School on September 28. You can see the results in this new VIDEO. Fifteen volunteers showed up to remove cans, bottles and even old furniture! Volunteers also cleared a few downed trees, allowing the group to extend the pathway, and continue to pull the invasive Japanese knot weed. The trail is great for dog walkers, hikers and bikers. Everybody should stay on the trails, not only to protect plants and trees but to avoid ticks and poison ivy. This is really a hidden treasure in Verona, please visit the trail and help us keep it clean. For volunteering opportunities please contact us at email@example.com
The VEC won an open space grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions to preserve the trail adjacent to the river. The work began on April 26 with a trail cleanup. Over 40 volunteers show up and did some grueling work. See a map of the trail and more information HERE - During the summer, every Wednesday the commission and volunteers watered the new trees.
May 31 Tree Planting Event
The VEC organized a planting event on May 31 in the Peckman woods. The commission purchased 6 Ostrich ferns, 2 Serviceberries, 3 River Birches and 3 Swamp White Oaks. VDPW provided compost and tools and delivered the native trees to the site. Over 20 volunteers and 16 kids participated. Volunteers used a submersible pump provided by the BOE to water the trees. The commission also installed watering bags in all trees and will keep filling the bags all summer long. The VEC also plans to develop a trail guide.
First VEC Student Member
At its April 7 meeting, the Town Council unanimously appointed Julia Capuano as an Environmental Commission Alternate Member. Julia is the first student member since the commission was established over 20 years ago. Julia is a sophomore at Verona High School and a member of VHS Environmental Club. She feels protecting the environment for ourselves and future generations is crucial and she plans on attending college for environmental science. Julia has been attending the VEC public meetings for the past few months and she is currently collaborating in recycling and clean up projects. The VEC congratulates Julia Capuano on her new appointment!
The Commission Welcomes New Member
At its March 3 meeting, the Town Council unanimously approved Ms. Pearson as a full voting member of the VEC. During its March 19 VEC public meeting at the Verona Community Center VEC Chair Machnowski congratulated Pearson on her new appointment. Since Ms. Pearson joined the commission as an alternate in October 2013 she has repeatedly demonstrated a commitment to the environment of Verona and the work of the VEC. She has put in countless hours researching issues we face. We are proud to count her as one of our members and look forward to her contributions.
The VEC at the Fair
The commission participated in Verona Fair in the Square on December 7th. The VEC table was busy all day long with residents of all ages. Visitors learned about Sustainable Jersey, a free certification program for municipalities that want to go green and save money in the process. Verona recently joined the program. Many residents signed up to volunteer in the Green Team, a new commission that will coordinate Verona's sustainability efforts. Children took the Kid's Green Challenge and everybody got a Sustainable Jersey pin and signed the 2014 Verona Pledge promising to recycle more, save water, eat more veggies, use reusable bags, walk more and drive less. Pictured, VEC members informing residents about Sustainable Jersey.
Verona joined Sustainable JerseyOn Nov. 18 the VEC presented the program Sustainable Jersey to the Town Council and formally asked to create a resolution to register Verona in the program. The council's feedback was very positive. Verona became the 400th municipality in the state to join the program and the 20th Essex County municipality. Sustainable Jersey was launched in 2009 and it is a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey that want to go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term. There are over 125 actions that our municipality can earn points for in the Sustainable Jersey program. See the list of all the new actions in the Sustainable Jersey Overview Brochure. It is a free program that can help Verona do more of the work that it has been doing to improve the environment in Verona. It will give us preferred access to grant money and guidance on best practices to make Verona more environmentally friendly at a lower cost, saving money for our taxpayers. Once Verona joins the program we will need a Green Team to coordinate our sustainability efforts. If you would like to get involved please contact the commission at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy 20th Anniversary, VEC!
The tree is a wonderful 12 feet tall White Oak (Quecus alba L.) White oaks are native to eastern North America and found from Maine to Minnesota southward to Florida and Texas. It is a large, stately tree that can grow from 80 to 100 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet in diameter around the trunk. It grows upright and produces acorns which are a good food source for wildlife. White oak is an excellent ornamental tree because of its broad round crown, dense foliage, and purplish-red to violet-purple fall color. Specimens have been documented to be over 450 years old!!
The commission would like to thank Hillcrest Farms and the township for supporting this initiative and specially Verona's Director of Community Services, Jim Cunningham and Department of Public Works Superintendent Chuck Molinaro. Happy 20th Anniversary, VEC!
To reduce the presence of poison ivy at the schools, Paul McDevitt, Verona's director of public school facilities uses horticultural vinegar. Although horticultural vinegar is an organic product that you can order on-line and notification of its application is not required the BOE provided a notification . If you see a BOE employee using a spray dispenser on either weeds or poison ivy, please know that this is the horticultural vinegar being applied and not a chemical based weed killer. The Material Safety Data Sheet is posted on the Buildings and Grounds page of the district website. The VEC also recommended to use this product at Verona Pool and during the Aug. 12 Council Meeting, the Town Manager announced that they will. Common chemical pesticides contain glyphosate and are acutely toxic to humans. Glyphosate has been linked to Cancer, Autism, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. It was described as "extremely persistent" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Well done Verona!
All those trees planted in the curb strips along most streets are Township Trees. Also, in a few specific locations just inside the sidewalks, right of way, and in public recreation areas. Verona has been a Tree City for 26 consecutive years.Request for Township planting, pruning and removal should be made by calling Public Works at 973-857-4804. To learn more about The Verona Shade Tree Commission, our Township Trees and how to help them please READ HERE. Residents are encouraged to contact the police at 911 to report any emergency and (973) 239-5000 regarding any police related matter. Trees or power lines that have come down should be reported.
VEC Annual Report: Please read it HERE. The township encourages all residents to plant native trees and reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost as much of their household waste as possible. You can access a live feed from Nixle here
The VEC held their 6th Annual Poster Contest on Walk to School Day. Students Grade K to 12 submitted over 200 entries and all posters were exhibited at the public schools.
Several posters will be on display at the Community Center and in the kiosks of the Hilltop Reservation. The awards ceremony took place at Town Hall on Nov. 3rd.
Pictured from left, the 2014 winners with Verona Council Members: Jessica Sidrak (H. B. Whitehorne Middle School), Stephen Bartell (Forest Avenue School), Paul Chanley (Verona High School), Maya Cappello (Brookdale Avenue School), Erin Song (Laning Avenue School) and Juliet Alkaysi (F.N. Brown School). Click right to see them.
This year's theme was "Sustainable Verona". You can watch the VIDEO here! Walking or biking to school, turning off cars while parked, buying locally, preserving open space, planting native trees and composting are just a few ways to make Verona more sustainable. Each winner received $50 dollars and an award certificate from Verona's Mayor, Bob Manley. Thank you students, families and educators for supporting this program!
NEW Sustainable Verona: the VEC produced this 6 min. video with artwork submitted by Verona students to our 2014 Poster Contest. We received over two hundred entries from public school students grades K to 12. The video shows a hundred of those posters. Great job everyone!
Verona Recycling 101: 6-minute video produced by the VEC in collaboration with students from thee High School Environmental Club. This video received a 2014 Environmental Achievement Award from the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions. The video was shot at the Verona Recycling Center, located at 10 Commerce Court in Verona (map) and open to the public Wednesday and Saturday 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. For more information please visit our Solid Waste and Recycling page and refer to the 2014 Verona Garbage and Recycling Schedule.
Kids Ride to the Peckman Trail: 3 minutes video made by Verona kids with helmet camera.
Wastewater Treatment Facility: the commission produced this 8-minute video, please watch it to learn how you can help protect our waterways (click on the lower right corner icon for full screen).
Go Idle Free Verona is a 2 minute video from the VEC and it is part of the commission's campaign against unnecessary vehicle idling. The video was entirely shot and edited by VEC members in Verona. The commission would like to especially thank the HBW Environmental Club and the kids from Verona for their participation and support. We invite you to watch it and learn how you can help to enhance Verona's air quality (click on the lower right corner icon for full screen). An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour! NJ State Law prohibits idling more than three minutes for both diesel and gasoline non-emergency vehicles. Please Turn the Key -Be Idle Free!
Verona Recycling Help Verona save money and go green. Click "play" below to watch our video and reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can in Verona!
Let’s encourage kids to walk to school and support them by improving air quality and safe driving. Please watch our video presentation Idle Free Verona and spread the word!
Do You Have a Treasured Tree?
Do you have one of Verona's great trees in your yard? The VEC is accepting nominations for Verona's Treasured Trees. This program recognizes beautiful, mature trees and the homeowners who care for them. If you would like to nominate a tree please e-mail us. Homeowners whose trees are designated as Treasured Trees receive a tree plaque and the tree is included in our "Virtual Tree Tour". One of the easiest ways to enhance our urban environment is to plant a tree. We encourage residents to plant native trees such as Oaks and Redbuds. They thrive with minimal attention and provide shelter and food to local wildlife. Click HERE for a list of wonderful native trees suitable for planting in our area. Pictured, a 2011 Treasured Tree, a majestic Red Oak located at 21 Anne Street in Verona. Trees do amazing things. Did you know 95% of the water trees drink gets evaporated into the atmosphere? Watch the video HERE
The VEC put together a presentation for all elementary schools in town. The content and pictures were generated locally by VEC members targeting third and fourth grade students, as requested by Frank Albano, Laning Avenue School Principal. After receiving the approval of Charles Sampson, former Superintendent of Verona Public Schools, the VEC presented this program at the following schools: Forest Ave., Laning Ave. (pictured here), F.N.Brown, Brookdale Ave. and Our Lady of the Lake. The Verona Recycling Center located at 10 Commerce Ct. is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. And reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can. Recycling questions, call 973-857-4804. For more information contact us. READ MORE
Forest Avenue School celebrated Earth Day by hosting four Recycling Workshops on 2013. Students Grade 1 through 4 participated in hands-on presentations organized by the school SCA and the Verona Environmental Commission. Students demonstrated how to flatten corrugated cardboard boxes to be dropped off at the Verona Recycling Center. They sorted out items for recycling collection learning the difference between aluminum and tin cans, corrugated cardboard and paper board, etc. They learned about household hazardous waste and items made with 100% recycled content. Sometimes recycling can be a bit confusing, but now students are experts on Verona's Recycling Programs! Pictured student Stephanie Zimany sorting recyclable items.
Verona's Earth Day
The VEC celebrated Earth Day on April 14th at the Verona Recycling Center. Residents brought their recyclable items and chatted about local environmental matters. Fabric canvas bags with the Verona logo were distributed free of charge as well as Township recycling bins and barrels. Pictured below is Verona resident Jane Niven receiving a recycling barrel from VEC member Tony Saltalamacchia . To see more pictures of this event please click HERE.